Wayne “Tree” Rollins, a former NBA and Clemson great, enters his first season as head coach of the Greenville Groove, his first season as a head coach at any level. He joins the Groove after serving 10 years as an assistant with the Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards, and the Indiana Pacers.
While coaching in the NBA, Rollins primarily coached post players, but does have experience working with players at all positions. He has coached numerous NBA greats, including Reggie Miller (Indiana), Penny Hardaway (Orlando), Shaquille O’Neal (Orlando), Darrell Armstrong (Orlando), Jalen Rose (Indiana), and Jermaine O’Neal (Indiana).
Rollins’ NBA career started with the Atlanta Hawks where he was a first-round draft pick and the 14th pick overall in the 1977 draft. He has seen action with five NBA teams: Atlanta (11 seasons), Cleveland (two seasons), Detroit (one season), Houston (two seasons), and Orlando where he severed as a player/coach for two years.
Rollins played with distinction during his 18 years in the NBA, one of the longest playing tenures in league history. He ranks seventh in NBA history for total blocked shots and 27th in NBA history for total games played. During the 1986-87 season he set a club record with the Hawks, shooting 55 percent from the field. He was named to the All-NBA Defensive team twice, first team in 1983-84 and second team during the 1982-83 season. He shot 52.2 percent from the field, 70 percent from the line and accumulated 6,750 rebounds, 2,542 blocked shots and 6,247 points in his 18 seasons that covered 1,156 games.
During his 11 seasons with the Hawks, Rollins was a mainstay in the Hawks lineup. He still ranks fifth in club history in rebounding, first in blocked shots, and second in number of games played. He led the NBA in blocked shots with 343 in the 1982-83 season, a single season Hawks standard for that category. He shot at least 50 percent from the field in nine of his 11 seasons.
Rollins came to the NBA after an impressive career at Clemson University. He played under coaches Tates Locke and Bill Foster for two seasons each. Ranked as one of the top 10 players in the ACC three years in a row (1974-75 through 1976-77), he is one of most decorated Clemson athletes in school history. Rollins was the first ever player in any sport at Clemson to have his jersey retired.
Several of the records he set while at Clemson are yet to be broken 25 years later. He remains the Clemson career rebounding leader with 1,311, a record that holds fourth place in ACC history. Rollins is also the only Clemson player to average a double-double in four straight seasons.
Rollins is one of only two Clemson basketball players to record a triple-double; he did it twice with blocked shots. He was also the first Clemson basketball player to earn a spot on any Associated Press All-American team, claiming third-team honors in 1976-77.
Rollins ranks second in ACC history in blocked shots with 450, first on a per game basis. At the conclusion of his career in college basketball, he set a national record with 110 consecutive games started, a record that has since been broken. This year he was named to the ACC 50-Year Anniversary Team, one of just two former Clemson players selected. His former Orlando Magic teammate Horace Grant is the other.
Rollins is a native of Cordele, Ga. He has three children, a son and two daughters. In his spare time, Rollins enjoys deep-sea fishing, movies, sci-fi, and electronic gadgets.